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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I recently had 2 horns in for major overhauls and I'd like to know what some of the good folks here would do if confronted with the same situation.

On recommendations from more than a few fellow musicians I booked two of my saxes in for complete overhauls with a tech I've not previously used.
During the initial enquiry, and also as I left his workshop after dropping off the horns, he told me that they were 'in good hands'.

The horns in question were my early 80s YTS62 (purple logo) and '62 Mk VI alto.
The tenor has been with me for over 15 years and was my first 'pro' sax. It's been with me through thick and thin and on every gig I've ever done. It is well and truly part of the family. I LOVE this horn.
The Mk VI was bequeathed to me recently by a dear old friend and I feel honoured and humbled to be able to play it every day.

When dropping the horns off with the tech we discussed what action he would take: the usual stuff - strip, rebuild, set-up, regulate, venting, pads, cork, felts, a tiny bit of silver plating on one of the Mk VI keys.

I picked up the horns the other day and they play better than before. Nice tight action, no leaks etc etc
But- without my consent, or any kind of discussion, he had RELACQUERED THE CROOK of the YTS62.
I was absolutely speechless. I didn't know what to say or do.
His reason, he said, was that the crook was 'heavily pitted'.
I know it was showing a lot of signs of lacquer wear, that was a huge part of it's cosmetic charm!

I can't fully convey how massively shocked I was. This horn was like my first-born to me! How could this have happened? I was so stunned that I felt unable to fully convey my feelings and left with my saxes after paying the tech for the work done.

I did manage to let the tech know that I wish he'd not relacquered the crook, to which he replied something along the lines of '...we can remove that...back to the brass...'
But we all know that my beloved tenor will now NEVER be the same.

I am GUTTED.

So, fellow saxophonists, what would you do? Or, what would you have done?
I have a few ideas of action that I shall consider taking but would like to hear what you think.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
 

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Regardless of my opinions regarding the tech's reasons for doing this action, I would strongly argue that no extra work should be done on a horn without the owner's consent and full understanding as a rule.
 

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Nothing can return it to the way you apparently want it. If you were charged for the relacquer, I would ask for the cost to be refunded to you.

You can't expect to sue for "pain and suffering", and won't receive a windfall in damages beyond the unexpected additional cost.

These aren't truly vintage "collectors" horns yet, so I don't think you will see a diminished value.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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1 Don't put good money after bad.
2 Request a refund on the cost of relacquering the neck.
3 Try to forget about it.
4 Forget about it.
 

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Regardless of my opinions regarding the tech's reasons for doing this action, I would strongly argue that no extra work should be done on a horn without the owner's consent and full understanding as a rule.
I agree - but just to play devil's advocate...
Much depends on what's meant by a relacquer. That the tech dealt with the pitting was bound to be a good idea - I did a similar job at the weekend, removing verdigris from a YAS62 that had eaten in to the metal.
What you should be left with is a clean crook, albeit it with the pits still visible...it would be a grave mistake to remove any metal just to make it 'all look smooth'.

That's where I left the job - but at this point it could be worth considering a quick shot of aerosol lacquer, on the basis that pitted metal tends to collect gunk and gunk tends to lead to corossion. It would be a very thin coat and probably wouldn't last all that long but might just hang in the pits long enough to prevent verdigris forming for a year or two.
It's the sort of thing I'd do after a soldering job that had taken out a bit of lacquer on an otherwise perfect horn. Nothing fancy, just a little wipe around the join to prevent the tarnish.

But, if they've gone the whole hog and bunged on a coat of proper lacquer then that might be a step too far.
The tech has a point though - he can remove the lacquer and the crook would be exactly the same as prior to applying it. The big question is, did the crook receive extra polishing for the purposes of lacquering? That's what would cause me concern rather than the lacquer itself.

Regards,
 

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Hi Stephen,

Devil's advocate stance understood. ;) I agree that, were it me, I would have likely recommend that the neck be cleaned and relacquered to mitigate the reasons for the pitting. That is why I prefaced my answer with the caveat as I did.

Even so, the OP seems disturbed about the cosmetic change involved, and the tech really should have discussed this with him first.
 

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Hi Stephen,

Devil's advocate stance understood. ;) I agree that, were it me, I would have likely recommend that the neck be cleaned and relacquered to mitigate the reasons for the pitting. That is why I prefaced my answer with the caveat as I did.

Even so, the OP seems disturbed about the cosmetic change involved, and the tech really should have discussed this with him first.
In that respect yes.
Here's a sorry tale along similar lines. Maybe if the OP reads it he won't feel quite so bad!

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Notes/the_stripper.htm

Regards,
 

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I concur!
But what now?
This could be tricky too.
In spite of the unfortunate misunderstanding, what's the quality of the rest of the work like?
Good techs can be hard to find, and if the rest of the work is top drawer then it might be worth biting the bullet and at least retaining the tech for future repairs.
In terms of 'loss', you haven't really lost anything tangible - you could pop on a replacement crook and your horn would blow exactly the same. That's what Yamaha is good at.
You can't really argue that the crook is ruined ( though see caveat earlier about excessive polishing ), and all you've really lost are 'battle scars'. Important as they can be ( and I often advise clients to leave them be as it adds character to a horn ) it's practically impossible to put a value on them.

Bit of tough call, perhaps!

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the input folks. The sage advice and impartial perspective is invaluable and very much appreciated.

Just to be clear- I wasn't charged for the relacquer and the rest of the work carried out is of a very high standard.

My adverse reaction to the unsolicited work can be attributed in part to my lack of understanding of the finer points involved so could I request some further information about relacquering? What will be the consequences of my asking the tech to remove the lacquer? Can it be done without abrasion? Am I better off just leaving it alone?

Thanks again.
 

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Removing the lacquer will be a chemical process ( stripper ). If you're going to have it done, make sure it'll be by this method and won't be polished off.
If it were me I'd leave well alone. Crooks get handled a lot, and anything that prevents the metal corroding is a good bet.

Regards,
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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When dropping the horns off with the tech we discussed what action he would take: the usual stuff - strip, rebuild, set-up, regulate, venting, pads, cork, felts, a tiny bit of silver plating on one of the Mk VI keys.
If I can also do a bit of advocating for the devil, replating (evan a tiny bit) is not "the usual stuff". If you agreed to that, I can see why (to the tech) a bit of lacquer on the neck wouldn't be much of a big deal.
 

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The repairer should have told you in advance what he proposed to do and why.

That said, if the lacquer remaining on your Yamaha's crook was chemically stripped and the brass was polished no more than necessary, then (objectively) he has improved your horn by relacquering the crook. Frankly there are worse nightmares. (See Stephen Howard's link above!).
 

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If it were me I'd leave well alone. Crooks get handled a lot, and anything that prevents the metal corroding is a good bet.
+5

Your tech tried to limit the further degradation of your horn.

Thank him.

Enjoy the response of your overhauled horns.
 

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He very likely thought that he was going above and beyond in dealing as he did with the neck. At least he didn't strip, buff, and re-lacquer the Mark VI alto--that would be criminal.

Does it seem to play any better or worse with the neck work, or are your concerns primarily cosmetic/aesthetic?
 

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I took a badly relacquered BA in once to be overhauled. We discussed replacing pads, corks, felt, regulation, and as needed springs, swedging, and a light cleaning. The "light cleaning" turned out to be the problem.The keys were bathed in something that pretty quickly began to eat away at the bad relac job. The tech pulled them out but it was too late. He tried to clean them up by hand a little, but they really looked terrible, bad lacquer to begin with that was now partially (only partially) eaten away. Had he called me then I would have had him just strip the lacquer completely. The shop owner felt pretty bad about it and knocked 25% off the overhaul. I took it home and hand polished the rest of the lacquer off the keys myself. It wasn't a horn I intended to keep, so there was no real emotional reaction from me. Not a bad job otherwise. I would have been a little more upset if it was my main axe.
 

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Grumps sounding like a New Yorker...

Actually, that was my question!
 

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+5

Your tech tried to limit the further degradation of your horn.

Thank him.

Enjoy the response of your overhauled horns.

That may be true; however the tech. shouldn't have done it without consulting the owner of the saxophone. If I am sentimental about the corrosion on my crook or just like the way it looks, then don't touch my corrosion.
 
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